All about women
Which colour would you like to wear on the most important day of your life? I say peach. But unlike me, most women in Pakistan would prefer wearing black, according to a Gallup survey in Pakistan. The empirical research was conducted to mark women’s day and was released recently. It studied several women’s issues, including their favourite colour and forms of violence they had been subjected to.I personally feel there is a lack of coherence among survey questions and that its sample population (women who filled the survey questionnaires) were not selected from all economic classes to be able to represent the actual scenario.
A total of 1,265 women filled out the questionnaire. There were 20 questions.
Dressing up for important days
Of these, 22% women said they would like to wear red on the most important day of their lives. This was followed by red (19%) and pink (16%). For wanting to wear peach, I fall into the category of two percent women who would wear any colour in the orange colour range.
For most women there is no one specific day that holds the most importance in their lives. For most of them it is usually difficult to decide between their graduation day, their wedding day or probably the first day at work and the birth of their first child.
Since education and career are not considered important moments in a woman’s life in many families, most of them grow up with dreams of a ceremonious marriage and having beautiful children.
According to the survey results, of the 1,265 women, 31% said the birth of their child was the most important day of their lives, followed by the wedding day for 30% of them. Only three percent of them said getting hired at a company of their wish was the most important day for them.
The problem area
Section two of the survey dealt with more serious issues such as the biggest problems women face in Pakistan.
It was a breath of fresh air to see that 35 percent of the women consider the lack of education the biggest problem. Identification of a problem is the first step towards finding a solution to it. For 17%, the biggest problem is physical abuse; for 15 percent of those surveyed, anti-women cultural practices such as honour killings, bride exchanges to settle disputes, dowry; for 14 % the lack of access to health faculties is most challenging.
Only seven and two percent of women in the survey consider lack of employment and lack of balance between home and family respectively, as their biggest problems.
A chunk of 38 percent women feel that life compared to that of their mothers’ has become easier, while 28 percent think otherwise.
Given that most women consider lack of education the biggest problem, a shockingly 68 percent of the women think that things for women have improved in the education sector. For 26 percent of them, chances for employment have grown. 26 percent feel family planning issues have been solved to a great extent.
“Can’t take the pressure”
As many as 46 percent of the women say they feel stressed most of the time. 45 percent feel pressured to ensure that their children were getting good education, 42 percent due to children’s heath, 35 percent due to spouse’s income, 34 percent to look good and 25 percent to lose weight.
The small survey also studied forms of violence most women in Pakistan are subjected to. Women were asked if they have ever faced physical or sexual violence, verbal abuse or threats, harassment through social media or telephone and mugging.
The largest group fall under those who said they have been verbally abused or threatened in on way or the other. This is 13 percent, followed by 12 percent of the women who say they have been harassed over the telephone at least once in their lives.
A helping hand
Of the 1,265 women questioned, 60 percent say they lack a helping hand from their spouse in house chores. 54 percent say their husbands do not help them take care of the children.
Accessibility to facilities
Only 40 percent of the women think that men and women are given the same accessibility to education, while 25 percent think men and women are given equal opportunities only when it comes to employment. For 35 percent of the women, men and women enjoy equal access to health services, 24 percent think the same for access to justice and 14 percent about participation in politics.
It is surprising to see that despite increasing inflation, challenges in bringing up children and expensive education and health care, 44 percent of the women say they want to have three to four children. A two percent of them said more than eight. Only 23 percent think one to two is the ideal number of kids to have.
A surprising seven percent say they would not like to have any kids. This is surprising because in societies such as Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, having children is considered as the main reason to get married. They say marry for children and love will follow.
Marry on the “right” time
While we never know when is the ‘right’ time to get married, 50% of the women who participated in the survey say girls should be married before they turn 24 and anytime after they touch 20 years.
Author: Ayesha Hasan
Editor: Manasi Gopalakrishnan
The author is an editor and a features writer at The Express Tribune in Pakistan. In 2011, she was awarded the Friedrich Ebert Foundation fellowship to participate in the project “Women’s world” at the Deutsche Welle. Women’s World is now known as Women Talk Online.
Date24.07.2013 | 12:52